Terry sent me a text message Friday saying she would like to see a movie at the Cinemark Theater at Festival Bay. Festival Bay is a mall that was built a few years ago at the head of International Drive near all the outlet malls. It was built at the height of the real estate boom. Walking through the mall most of the store fronts are shut with giant posters making it look like it will one day be a great place to shop. It has been that way for years as more stores shut. The only reason Terry and I ever go there is for the Cinemark. I arrived early to sketch.
We went to see "The Help" based on a book Terry had read in book club. She joked with me saying it might be a chick flick. In the theater she did a head count and found 5 other men in the half full theater. The row directly in front of us was full of women. The movie was fantastic. A young 23 year old woman decided she wanted to write a book from the vantage point of the black maids in Jackson Mississippi. This was a dangerous proposition for the maids since segregation was the law and the civil rights movement had just begun. The maids raised white babies with love and compassion but they were required to use a separate bathroom. A maid was arrested and beaten when she was accused of stealing a ring. Violence against blacks was the norm. Just talking to a young white journalist was dangerous and against the law.
The movie celebrates the courage required to speak the truth in an age of oppression and prejudice. A scene of people watching the John F. Kennedy funeral on TV sparked one of my earliest memories, reminding me that segregation existed within my lifetime. The story was told with warmth, sincerity and showed the hard truth of bitter prejudice which happened at quaint tea parties as white house wives jockeyed for the power of oppression.
We all have a voice, a story that needs to be told. We can't drift through life, invisible, following the path of least resistance. The movie left me feeling good knowing that a journalist willing to uncover the truth can help bring about change. Change always comes at a cost and it never happens quickly. As Gandhi said, "Be the change you want to see in the world." I highly encourage you to see "The Help."